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mfs NJT459

Freight rail barges at NY Harbor

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On a remote stretch of the Jersey City waterfront, railroad cars loaded with lumber, rice and scrap metal from points north, south and west are rolled onto a barge, then pushed by a tug boat east across New York Harbor to Flatbush, Brooklyn. Goods headed west from Long Island or New York City are floated back to New Jersey the same way.


It's the East Coast's only remaining lightering operation, the kind of rail-and-barge network that was once common along the Hudson County waterfront and other shorelines not served by freight rail bridges or tunnels. Most of them disappeared decades ago with the consolidation of the freight rail industry and the growth of trucking.


But the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which bought the operation from private owners in 2008, is expanding it to accommodate projected growth, after the number of rail cars transported across the harbor grew from about 900 in 2008, to 4,568 this year as of July 30.




Edited by mfs NJT459
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